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San Francisco, California
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NATIONAL PARKSequoia And Kings Canyon National Parks In central California, stretching northward from 35 miles east of Visalia to 55 miles east of Fresno, and from the foothills of the San Joaquin Valley to the crest of the High Sierra, these two parks abut one another and are managed together. Sequoia is the second-oldest national park, behind Yellowstone National Park.
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EDITOR PICK5 Reasons Why You Should Buy Travel Insurance from AAAAAA Travel Editor Frank SwansonAs more travelers book expensive cruises and vacation packages to exotic destinations, they are turning to travel insurance to protect their investment in the face of life's uncertainties. Here are five reasons why you should buy travel insurance.
NATIONAL PARKRedwood National And State Parks Along the northern California coast between Crescent City and Orick, 302 miles north of San Francisco on US 101, Redwood National and State Parks encompasses 131,983 acres. Within its boundaries are the 60,286 combined acres of Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek Redwoods state parks
ARTICLEHidden StairwaysSan Francisco is a city of hills, and the dictates of such undulating geography mean that it is also a city of stairways—some 300 of them scattered throughout the city. For residents, they’re often a practical necessity or a convenient shortcut to get from point A to point B. From a tourist perspective, these stairways are often worth seeking out, not only for the exercise and the views but because—in a town that does such a good job putting a crimp in your budget—they’re free.
NATIONAL PARKSequoia National ForestSequoia National Forest lies in Central California at the southern end of the Sierra Nevadas, extending from Kings River southward to the Kern River and Piute Mountains, and westward from the Sierra Nevada summit to the brush-covered foothills of the San Joaquin Valley.
ARTICLELeave Your Heart in San FranciscoCable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid—San Francisco is a travelogue of iconic images. Even if you've never been to California, you've seen these seven hills in classic films and TV shows. For a first-time visitor, every sight is new but familiar. Who wouldn't recognize the lantern-strung alleys of Chinatown, the stately Victorian mansions of Pacific Heights or the serpentine twists of Lombard Street? Who hasn't sung the Tony Bennett song? Our photographic memories of San Francisco go back to the Great Earthquake of 1906, and more recently, Loma Prieta. Our cultural mileposts include the leather bars of Castro Street, the Latin taquerias of the Mission District and the incense shops of Haight-Ashbury (though the flower children sport more piercings and tattoos these days).
NATIONAL PARKYosemite National Park At Yosemite National Park it's all about the view. Want proof? Then consider the panorama of Yosemite Valley as seen from the east end of the Wawona Tunnel, where you emerge out of darkness to behold an absolutely picture-perfect landscape dominated by the vertical granite face of El Capitan and the cascading beauty of Bridalveil Falls (surely a change of scene on par with what Dorothy witnessed after that tornado dropped her in Oz). Or the Mist Trail, where little rainbows created by flying spray from Vernal Falls hang in the air for one enchantingly brief moment. Or the valley on a frosty winter morning, when sheets of frozen spray from Yosemite Falls spectacularly break loose from the cliffs in a succession of thundering booms. Or the park on a moonlit winter night, bare branches glinting with hard ice, the sky impossibly clear and brimming with thousands of diamond-bright stars.
NATIONAL PARKMuir Woods National Monument Muir Woods National Monument, 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge on the southwestern slope of Mount Tamalpais, can be reached via US 101 and SR 1. Named for Scottish-born American conservationist and Sierra Club founder John Muir, 560-acre Muir Woods preserves a stand of
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NATIONAL PARKCalifornia Coastal National MonumentConsisting of thousands of islands, rocks, exposed reefs and pinnacles extending up to 12 miles out from the shore off California's entire 1,100-mile coastline, California Coastal National Monument was established to preserve these uninhabited outcroppings.
NATIONAL PARKPinnacles National Park Entered from the east via SR 146, 35 miles south of Hollister via SR 25, or 35 miles north of King City via CR G13, the park also can be approached from the west via SR 146, off US 101 in Soledad. Pinnacles National Park embraces about 24,000 acres of precipitous bluffs, spires and crags of colorful volcanic rock and a series of caves underneath the formations. The forces of heat, cold, water and wind have worn the contours of the rocky terrain.
NATIONAL PARKPoint Reyes National SeashoreGrass-tufted dunes line the wild coastal beaches; some are wide open while others are more secluded, edging tucked-away coves backed by rocky cliffs. Inland are rolling hills, lush meadows and Inverness Ridge, cloaked with towering stands of Douglas fir. Nearly 450 species of birds have been spotted within Point Reyes. The approximately 80 resident wildlife species range from diminutive (the California tortoiseshell butterfly) to impressively large (the northern elephant seal).